Back in the day, a thug gunned down Lillian Potter’s husband. Like so many widows touched by tragedy, she launched a crusade to give her husband’s death meaning. Handgun Alert was born. My mother wouldn’t allow me to challenge her views. “So which family member has to die before I can debate gun control?” I asked. Hey, I was a teenager. But the point remains: why should tragedy place a survivor above reproach? ‘Cause I tell you what, I’m feeling extremely reproachful about Virginia Tech massacre survivor Colin Goddard’s rant The Last Pharoah: Mubarek or LaPierre? I advise those of you who consider criticism of a crime-driven crusader unforgivably insensitive to look away now . . .
According to the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, the situation in Egypt demonstrates that our nation’s Second Amendment is more important than ever, that “the presence of a firearm” in the hands of good people “makes us all safer” and that “the guys with the guns make the rules.” The problem is that LaPierre’s interpretation has nothing to do with reality.
What is so strikingly incongruous about LaPierre’s statement is the fact that none of the anti-Mubarak protesters appeared to be armed with guns. Contrary to LaPierre’s point, the only shooting that took place happened when members of Mubarak’s hated security force, dressed as civilians, used guns to kill unarmed protesters. In some cases, unarmed protesters were shot by snipers hidden safely in nearby buildings.
Goddard suffers from an idée fixe: fewer guns means less death. The facts must back up this core belief, no matter what. So the fact that the Egyptian government’s murderers were dressed as civilians and shooting from behind concealment proves that civilians don’t need a right to self-defense—because it wouldn’t have been effective anyway. Speaking of secret police, that is some seriously tortured logic.
I understand the liberal fascination with pacifist “people power.” No tanks for the memory. Ghandi rocks! Rosa Parks rules! It’s a good thing that the Egypt didn’t become a bloodbath. But the lack of firefights must be seen in its proper context.
First, as commentator Lance points out below, Egyptian citizens needed firearms to protect themselves from escaped convicts, released by Mubarek to create a desire for centralized authority. A lack of personal self-defense creates a power vacuum, beloved of dictators everywhere. And that ain’t no accident.
Second, Egyptians have been living under the yoke of dictatorship for decades. If the government hadn’t disarmed (or kept unarmed) the populace, perhaps there would have been something closer to real democracy in the country in the first place.
Maybe the Founding Fathers were right: the right to keep and bear arms is integral to a fruitful relationship between the governed and the governing.
In the race to destroy National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre, Goddard doesn’t give that idea a look in. He considers the lack of mass executions (except at Egyptian jails) as proof positive that the NRA’s jefe’s undisguised love of an armed population is both paranoid and delusional.
It seems quite clear that LaPierre is as misguided and misinformed on the events in Egypt as he is about the true causes of gun violence here in this country. If instead of staging peaceful demonstrations, Egyptian protesters been armed with guns, it is highly likely that the Egyptian military, equipped with billions of dollars worth of weapons supplied free of charge by our own government, would have retaliated. That would have produced massive casualties among both the armed and unarmed Egyptians.
Other than causing the unnecessary deaths of innocent, unarmed protesters, guns played absolutely no meaningful role in what was perhaps the most powerful showing of peaceful and successful resistance to tyranny in recent history.
Kumbaya that! But what, pray tell, are the “true causes” of American gun violence that evade Mr. LaPierre? I imagine Wayne would say that human nature’s ultimately to blame for the harm that a man does to his fellow man, whether that’s via firearms or any other object. After that . . . nope. That’s probably it.
If Goddard disagrees with this simple proposition, I’d be interested to know why. Does he believe social or economic deprivation causes gun violence. Or should be blame “easy access to guns”? Or both? In this his personal experience staring evil in the face would be most illuminating. Or, perhaps, not. Anyway, back to America . . .
Despite the ludicrously hyperbolic political rhetoric heard too often in our country, we do not have a dictatorial government. We are not subject to the tyranny of a single ruler. However, citizens still have the ultimate power to change our elected representatives on a regular and orderly basis. As Americans, we have been peacefully exercising that right for over 200 years.
Straw man much? That said . . . define dictatorship. And what of the Alien and Sedition Acts? The Civil War? The riots in the 60’s? Or any of the other bloody events that have punctuated the American experiment since it began.
To say that Americans need to keep arsenals of weapons in order to oppose some future government that might become tyrannical is foolish at best. At worst, it is an affront to anyone that loves our country, our Constitution, and believes in its system of government.
So defending the Second Amendment is un-American. Who knew? And who knew that you could compare Wayne LaPierre to Hosni Mubarek with a straight face.
We should all take note of what the unarmed population of Egypt has achieved by standing up and speaking out against their oppression. Americans should finally take a stand against the oppressive influence of LaPierre and the NRA that has long ignored the real needs of individual gun owners in favor of the profit of gun manufacturers. Those who make and sell guns care only about getting more guns into more hands in more places no matter how dangerous it makes life for all of us.
I’m perplexed. What are the “real needs” of individual gun owners that the NRA’s ignoring? You know; other than free ammo. I have a sneaking suspicion that limiting access to firearms is not one of those ignored priorities.
But this much is true: in a free country we can all compete to represent each other. That’s as long as those represented agree. Which means they have the power to refuse. And I think I know where that comes from. I’m sorry Mr Goddard had to experience the worst of human nature, but it’s the realization that such evil exists that informs the NRA’s position.